News of James Gunn's dismissal from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 first surfaced on July 20, 2018. Eight months later, news surfaced on an official basis that the director would be returning to the director's chair after all after having been reinstated by the House of Mouse. Between the two events, Gunn was hired as writer and director of The Suicide Squad, a movie that is either serving as a reboot or sequel of David Ayers' Suicide Squad, depending on who you ask.
According to a recent Instagram comment by the filmmaker, Marvel Studios wasn't aware of Gunn's involvement with The Suicide Squad when the Burbank-based studio initially approached him about a return. That would seem to mean Marvel Studios returned to Gunn's camp long before the news surfaced via the Hollywood trade circuits in March.
After a fan asked Gunn if he thought Marvel would have returned if he didn't get the gig directing The Suicide Squad, the filmmaker spilled the beans on the rehiring timeline. "I know for a fact they would have as they didn't know about Squad when they first talked to me," the director shared.
Gunn was initially hired to pen the script for The Suicide Squad in October 2018 before being named director in January 2019. That means judging by Gunn's comments about Marvel not knowing about his new gig, Marvel Studios would have had to return to begin reinstatement talks prior to October 2018, just a few short months after the director was fired from his Guardians post to begin with.
Naturally, all this chatter is slightly unnecessary as the director is back on board with both projects and they're both moving forward. At the very least, it does go to show the level of secrecy Marvel Studios can implement when working on things behind the scenes. If return talks began in October, that means the studio went leak-proof for five months as they waited for time to pass before an announcement was made.
When we spoke with the director's brother Sean last spring, the actor said then he knew "a little while" before everyone else about his brother's rehiring."I was aware before it was announced, a little bit before," Gunn admits. "I know that they were, they wanted to get the timing right in terms of when the announcement was made. Like I was saying before, in Hollywood, things don't ever happen until they happen, you know?"
"So I was aware that it was probably going to happen, but I was never sure until I actually saw it in the news. But I was pretty sure for, let's just say for a little while."
The Suicide Squad is due out August 6, 2021 while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has yet to set a release date.